American purchases rare handmade Turkish souvenir at Grand Bazaar, proudly displays it to friends

Istanbul as seen from the Bosphorus

MANHATTAN – Frank Howell, 53, of Manhattan, Kansas, was meticulously surveying what local merchants were selling at Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar when he came across a rug.

“The merchant approached me and told me it was a unique piece of Turkish history — one-of-a-kind,” Howell said. “He said it took hundreds, if not thousands of hours for the artist to make.”

Seeing his opportunity to take home a rare historical artifact, Howell added that he didn’t even bother to haggle.

“They asked for 25,000 lira ($8,850), so I just gave it to them,” he said. “It seemed like a fair cost for something so beautiful.”

Now displaying the rug at his house in Kansas, Howell uses every opportunity to tell visitors the story.

“The whole experience was surreal, like I was back in the 16th century Ottoman age,” Howell says. “And I stumbled across this carpet, the only one left of its kind of earth. Isn’t it beautiful?”

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